Powerful quake hits northern Japan, at least 20 injured

Japan earthquake map

A powerful 6.6-magnitude quake hit the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido early on Thursday (Sep 6), triggering landslides, bringing down several houses, and killing one person.

The 2011 quake and tsunami in northern Japan destroyed both external and backup power to the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, causing meltdowns. Some 10 people had been taken to hospital with injuries, one of them serious, it said.

NHK World, a public broadcaster in Japan, reported that the quakes caused "huge landslides" in the area. A man suffered cardiac arrest after falling down the stairs, local media reported.

The U.S. Geological Survey said Thursday's tremor struck just over 100 kilometers southeast of the city of Sapporo at a depth of 66 kilometers.

"The government will work together towards reconstruction while giving the top priority to saving human lives", Abe told reporters.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe instructed officials to ascertain the extent of damage and extend a helping hand to those affected.

The quake triggered a blackout across a wide area in Hokkaido. See how the news unfolded here. Many schools were closed, and some 2.95 million homes were without power, NHK said.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority said Hokkaido Electric Power Co's Tomari nuclear power plant lost an external power source, with a spent fuel pool at its Nos 1 to 3 reactors now being cooled by an emergency power supply system.

Soldiers were shown looking for damage on a rural road that was blocked by fallen trees.

A police officer controls the traffic during a blackout following a strong quake in Sapporo, northern Japan early Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018.

On March 11, 2011, a 9.0 magnitude natural disaster, the most powerful ever recorded in Japan, struck under the ocean off the coast of the northern city of Sendai.

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